Poverty reduction means having a city that is inclusive to everyone in that we all share in the prosperity and diversity of our community. We need to foster a worldview that gives dignity and respect to all. The causes and solutions of homelessness and poverty are complex. Factors such as lack of affordable housing, cost of food, cost of energy (heat and electricity), discrimination, ableism all contribute to the growing poverty we see today.
Building more housing overall is a step toward combating homelessness and poverty. Increasing the amount of purpose-built rentals by using city-owned properties will help alleviate the pains of low-income renters releasing personal budgets for food and other essentials.
Victoria needs to create supportive and/or recovery housing in small clusters in every neighbourhood. Integration of all peoples despite income creates diverse communities where neighbours can help each other according to ability and resource. Having a place to go before and after treatment is crucial for the recovery success of an individual.
Providing free bus passes for low-income individuals further alleviates day to day costs of getting around the city. Increasing reliable public transit options so that individuals don’t need to sustain the costs of owning and maintaining a vehicle helps fight poverty further.
Increasing services and support for youth, especially youth aging out of the foster care system is vital in breaking the cycle of poverty. According to a local charity for youth homelessless, youth aged 16-24 are the fastest growing segment of homelessness in Canada. The City of Victoria needs to work with the province of BC to provide support to youth. Removing barriers for developments such as the HeroWork partnership with Threshold Housing, a housing complex for youth in need in South Jubilee are steps forward. If elected, I would vehemently support similar initiatives.